in Tudor Times
were only 4 million people living in Tudor England and the towns were not
very big. London was the largest.
tudors built many thousands of new houses. A few were grand palaces made
of stone but most were smaller. They had wooden frames pinned together
with wooden pegs, and the spaces were filled with clay or brick.
and stone were only used for building big country houses. Most buildings
were made of wood and plaster. They would build a wooden frame and then
pack it with clay or daub. Lots of houses in the town were built upwards
because there was not much space. The floors used to jut out over each
other. They were built on both sides of the street and made the streets
gloomy because they blocked the light. The streets were narrow and crowded
this made it easy for criminals to rob and steal from shops, traders and
threw their rubbish into the streets. They smelt very unpleasant.
shops were more like open market stalls. The shopkeeper had a picture sign
to show people what they sold. This was better than a written sign because
lots of people could not read.
Life At Home
had to be done by hand so the housewife was a busy person. The people then
were not as particular as we are about changing their clothes. Washing
would only be done about once a month In a big house, there might only
be one washday in three months.
often did their washing outside in a stream. They used home made soap from
fat and ashes.
of the furniture was made of wood. Only important people had chairs, the
rest had to sit on stools or benches. Rich people had big wooden four poster
beds. Beds like this one were very precious and would be passed down to
families when people died. Most people's beds were feather matresses covered
with thick sheets and wool blankets. The walls had wood panelling to keep
Food and Drink
ate well. The main part of each meal was meat. This could be beef, lamb,
pork, rabbit, deer, goat or wildfowl, rich people even ate swans.
people cooked, ate and slept in the same room. They would cook over an
open fire and would probably drink beer or cider with each meal.
were made of oak. The dishes they used were made of earthenware which was
a kind of rough pottery. Food was usually put into a big bowl in the middle
of the table then people helped themselves. They didn't use forks just
spoons and knives. Drinking cups were made of horns which had the pointed
end cut off.
and banquets took place in the great hall of a big house. The host and
important guests sat at the top of the table which was raised up on a platform.
The rest of the guests sat lower down. There was loads of food and often
lots left over which was given to the servants anything they didn't eat
was given to beggars who waited outside.
Schools were mainly for rich children. Most pupils were boys and very few
girls were educated. Some were taught at home by a tutor.
spent a long time at school. After three years at a nursery school they
moved on to a grammar school when they were seven. They only had two holidays
of about two weeks each, one at Christmas and one at Easter. For the rest
of the year they only had Sundays off.
began at 6 or 7 o'clock in the morning. Lunch was at 11 o'clock and afternoon
lessons lasted from 1o'clock until 5 o'clock.
How people travelled
roads of England were very poor. Each village was supposed to repair its
own roads. By a law of 1555 ,one man was chosen every year to be surveyor
of the Highway. Rich people were supposed to provide the materials for
road repairs and the poorer people were to work unpaid for 6 days a year.
Some people left money for road repairs when they died. Nobody liked having
the job of surveyor. Often the surveyor only bothered to repair those pieces
of road which they travelled on.
then did not have good surfaces, and they were not properly drained
like ours deep ruts made by carts filled up with water when it rained.
Most people travelled on horse back or on foot. For shorter journeys
you might pay to have yourself carried in a chair.
could be very dangerous it was not a good idea to travel alone if you could
help it. Servants at the inns where travellers stayed were sometimes
in league with robbers. They looked at a travellers luggage and if they
thought he was worth robbing ,they found when they were setting off and
where they were heading. Then they told the robbers ,who would lie in wait
and attack them taking all of their money and valuables.
Crime and Punishment
People who committed crimes could be put in the stocks. They always stood
where lots of people would pass and they would throw things at the criminals.
were a big problem people were afraid of them. If they became a nuisance
they were dragged through the streets being whipped.
towns had a ducking chair to punish women who were "scolds". The chair
was kept near a pond or river and was hung on a see-saw. The woman was
tied into the chair, dipped into the water and pulled out again.
thought that a woman was a witch she would be tied up in a sack and thrown
into the water. If she floated it meant she was not guilty.
Other people could be burned
at the stake.
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